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1980s Computers Explanation of terms
Notes


The Spectrum +2


Spectrum +2A

Manufacturer

Amstrad (UK)
(But sold under the Sinclair brand name.)

Model

Spectrum +2

Date Launched

November 1986

Price

£150

Microprocessor type

Zilog Z80A @ 3.5 MHz

ROM size

32 kilobytes
64 KB in later +2A and +3

Standard RAM

128 kilobytes

Maximum RAM

128 kilobytes

Keyboard type

Proper moving-key type

Supplied language

Selectable standard Sinclair BASIC (as used on Spectrum 48K) or extended Sinclair BASIC 128K, but modified slightly by Amstrad.
+2A and +3 models included +3DOS disk operating system.

Text resolution

32 x 24 characters

Graphics resolution

256 x 192 pixels.

Colours available

8, each at two brightness levels

Sound

3 channels

Cassette load speed

1500 baud ?

Dimensions (mm)
Weight (grams)

440 x 175 x 55
1525 (+2), 1650 (+3)

Special features

Featured a built-in cassette recorder.
Could operate in 48K mode allowing it to run most existing Spectrum software.

Good points

A much better keyboard than any previous Sinclair computer.
Had built-in joystick ports (though with non-standard connections so that only Amstrad joysticks would work.)

Bad points

Still the by now almost 5-year-old Spectrum design underneath.
In 128K mode BASIC keywords were typed in full, whereas in 48K mode single-key entry was used. Unfortunately the keywords were no longer printed on the keys which made this somewhat tricky...

How successful?

Put new life into the old Spectrum design and sold well.
The Spectrum +2 was marketed purely as a games playing machine with no pretensions for any more serious uses. It was often sold as a package with joystick, light gun and software bundle:
Spectrum +2 Games Pack

Comments

Amstrad bought out Sinclair's computer business in April 1986 and the Spectrum +2 was the first new product. In some ways it resembled a Spectrum 128 in a CPC 464 case.
The Spectrum +2 was made in Hong Kong and Taiwan and was the first Sinclair-branded computer to be built outside the UK.
Original +2s had a grey case but the later +2A, with a redesigned PCB, had a black case.
The Spectrum +3 was launched a year later at £250 and offered a 3 inch disc drive in place of the cassette recorder. This proved not as popular as the +2 because the 3 inch drive was non-standard and £250 was too expensive for what was by then a very old design of computer.
Spectrum +3



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